|A Foundation of Roses
Author: CelticX PM
Follow-on to Rosa Chinensis. It's Yumi's first year in college. Her leukemia is in remission, her relationship with Sachi couldn't be better, and life looks wonderful. But Hiromi and Sachiko have a few ideas of their own for our dear Yumi-chan.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Friendship - Yumi F. & Sachiko O. - Chapters: 28 - Words: 121,754 - Reviews: 133 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 35 - Updated: 05-04-13 - Published: 05-19-12 - id: 8131087
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Scene four in this chapter is dedicated to Honulicious. You asked for it girl :)
"Um, Alice-san," Suguru asked one day a week later when he and Alice were both putting in time at the foundation. It was late afternoon on a Tuesday and Alice was at her desk in the reception area going over the list of foundation contributors. February was coming quickly and Yumi wanted to send out cards to everyone commemorating Foundation Day as well as Valentine's Day. Although neither holiday had anything to do with the Rose Foundation it was an excellent opportunity to get the foundation's name back on the people's mind after Christmas and New Year's. Alice knew that if the list wasn't finalized and sent to the printer early enough then there wouldn't be sufficient time to fix any errors and she refused to have a card go out with the wrong address or a name misspelled.
"Hmm?" she replied without lifting her eyes from the list scrolling across the screen of her monitor.
"You might have heard already, but it seems that the Ogasawara's are having a gathering at their estate this coming Saturday evening. Its primary purpose is just to get together with the company's business associates and to try to foster better relations between organizations, but there will also be music and dancing. I was wondering…" he took a gulp and plunged ahead, "I was wondering if I might have the pleasure of your company for the evening."
Alice's finger lifted from the scroll wheel on her mouse and she slowly raised her eyes from the screen to take in his slightly anxious face. He didn't go so far as to wring his hands, but it was plain that he would have liked to. A small, wicked smile appeared on her lips. "Why, Suguru-kun…are you asking me out for a date?" she grinned.
"I…" he started to stammer before shook his head, took a deep breath and chuckled at her audacity. For some reason he found it difficult to believe that this woman had such a hold over him. "You know, Alice-san, you are the most frustrating, infuriating, devilish…and desirable person I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Never in all my years of dating have I ever had to be the pursuer. I have always been the pursued. What is it about you that has me so head over heels?"
Alice smirked coyly. "Isn't that what you're supposed to figure out?" she giggled. "After all, a girl has to have her secrets," Alice said softly as she twirled a curl of light brown hair around her finger, a motion that she'd come to realize Suguru found extremely distracting. Almost as distracting as when she bent over to do some filing while wearing a short skirt. She had found it odd that something so innocent would be just as enticing to him as something so much more lascivious. However, she would use every weapon in her arsenal if it would get the man she'd had a crush on since her first year at Hanadera to look at her as something other than just another classmate.
The fact that he had finally admitted to being "head over heels" for her told her that she'd been playing her role perfectly; or at least well enough. She knew that people, men and women both, threw themselves at him constantly, either for his good looks or because they saw him as a stepping stone on their own career path. Either way, none of them had really ever taken the time to truly get to know Suguru the man; unlike a certain transwoman.
"I guess it is…and I guess you do," Suguru grinned, actually finding it fun to play her game her way. This unsought-after desire that had come upon him so suddenly had certainly made his life a lot more interesting over the last six or seven months. He actually looked forward to the time he could spend at RMII more so than either his classes or his regular job.
"Then again," Alice said, looking up at the ceiling for a moment before turning her brown eyes back to him and giving him a smile that nearly made his knees buckle, "isn't that what dating is for? To get to know each other better?"
"Then, Alice-san," he bowed to her which made her giggle, "will you give this unworthy one the pleasure of your company to the Ogasawara fete?" he asked, reaching down to the desk to take hold of her hand and bring it to his lips. "For if I must go, I would like to go with the most beautiful and desirable woman on my arm."
"Flattery will get you nowhere, Suguru-kun," she laughed to try to hide the surge of electricity that had flared through her entire being when his lips briefly pressed against her suddenly too hot skin, "but yes, I will attend the party with you. How could I turn down such a handsome man who knows how to properly treat a lady?" She could see the relief in his eyes and she hated to put a damper on it, but there was something he had to know if they were going to start dating.
However," she said, her voice getting a bit lower and her face becoming distinctly more serious, "as I told you before, I will not become some kind of trophy for anyone. I'm worth more than that. Before you go getting ideas, know now that the person I eventually let into my life is going to be my equal partner, not some man that feels they are better or more important than I am or that their needs are more important than my own. I know your history," the tall, dark haired man had the grace to look guilty at that proper and correct statement. "I'm not looking for a fling. I'm looking for something more. If you can accept that, then I'd be happy to go out with you. If you can't, let's end this here and now and we won't have to speak of it again."
Suguru stood there a moment, silent as he processed Alice's words and the emotions behind them…and realized that her words only made him want her more. Not as a conquest to be made, which he was sure he could achieve if that was what he desired, but possibly as the one person that he could trust to have at his side, completely and without reservation. This wasn't the weeping Kintarou Arisugawa that he had first met as a third-year student at Hanadera. This was a woman that had grown much in three years, who had fully figured out who she was and was comfortable with that person. She had not only accepted who she was, but was proud of the person she had become. Could he say the same thing?
Maybe if she was by his side to remind him, he might one day be where she was now.
"Alice-san," he said and bowed from his waist, "would you do me the honor of allowing me to date…and to court you? I can't promise that I will always be worthy of you, but I can promise to do my best to be a man that you would be proud to have as your partner."
For probably the first time since they had been reunited under the umbrella of the Rose Foundation, Alice was completely speechless…for a period of two seconds. Then a shy smile graced her lips and she nodded her head.
"Suguru-kun, I would be honored to accept your invitation to the Ogasawara party and to date you. As for the courtship…let's take it slow and see where this relationship might lead us," she smiled, holding out her hand which he took within his own and kissed, this time on the palm sending a shiver of desire through her that she was unable to hide.
Suguru smiled, looking forward to not only the party, but what might come in the weeks, months and, hopefully, years thereafter.
"Are you sure you're up to this Yumi?" Sachiko asked, the worry evident in her voice and in her eyes. Her eyebrows were in the shape of a frown and there was a deep crease running across her forehead as she watched the love of her life slowly pull herself from the sickbed she had been occupying for nearly a week. "You know that you don't have to do this. Okaasama and Otoosama will understand. They've called nearly every day to check up on you."
"And I know how you hate going to these things. You always felt as if you were being paraded around like a piece of meat," Yumi said seriously but then grinned, "at least you did until I started coming with you."
Sachi had to smile at that. Yumi was correct, of course. When her partner wasn't with her she was much more likely to be approached by some of her father's less savory business associates. She'd been propositioned and manhandled, literally, at numerous of these parties over the years and until Yumi came into her life she'd simply put up with it since it was for the benefit of the family and the company. The importance of the company, and the Ogasawara honor, had been drummed into her since she was a little girl. She was sure, now, that if she'd said anything to her father about how some of his guests had treated her that the culprits would have found themselves not only on the outs with the Ogasawara conglomerate, but would probably have been nursing sore muscles and broken bones. But back then she had known no better.
However, since Yumi had started attending the parties with her she was approached much less often and almost no one had attempted to fondle her in Yumi's presence. After Sachiko had told Yumi one tale of how a man, one of her father's less important business acquaintances, had slipped a hand within the slit of the dress she had been wearing and groped her rear end, Yumi had never left her side at a party. More than one man had been the recipient of one of Yumi's glares when she thought they were getting a little too fresh with her girlfriend. They never seemed to bother her after that.
Still, Yumi was just now getting over her pneumonia and the last thing she needed to be doing was going to some party.
"I do hate it when you're not by my side Yumi," Sachi admitted with a grumbling sigh, "but I'd rather put up with one night of difficulties than to have you relapse."
"I can make it through one party Sachi," Yumi argued as she started pulling various pairs of underwear out of her drawer and holding them up to the dark maroon velvet gown she had decided to wear. "Which do you think? The red or the black?" she asked holding up two different bra and panty sets in front of the relatively demure dress.
"What about neither," Sachiko sighed, crossing her arms over her chest, her frustration building as Yumi ignored her entreaties.
"Why Sachi!" Yumi giggled. "Are you getting kinky in your old age?"
"Wha…why? Oh!" she squeaked and her cheeks blushed a bright red as she realized what she had suggested.
"I've never gone commando before," Yumi smirked and threw the sets of undies over her shoulders as she approached her lover with a swish to her hips, "I'm up for it if you promise to make it worth my while when we get home."
Sachiko couldn't stop sputtering, her cheeks and even her neck turning a bright red as Yumi sashayed up to her and put her arms around the blue-eyed girl's neck.
"I can do this Sachi," Yumi said, her voice turning serious as she leaned up and kissed her embarrassed lover, "but if it makes you feel better I'll leave how long we stay entirely in your hands. If you think I look like I'm getting too tired or pale then you can demand we leave and I won't argue. I promise."
"You promise?" Sachi asked again, just to make sure. "No arguments?"
"Cross my heart," Yumi smiled and made the motion with her finger over her chest.
Sachiko sighed, walked over to where the underwear had fallen to the floor and picked them up. She held each pair up in front of Yumi's dress, scrutinized both sets, and then dropped them back on the floor with a grin. "Then commando it is," she giggled.
It was Yumi's turn to sputter in embarrassment.
The party had just gotten started when Sachiko and Yumi entered the grand ballroom at the Ogasawara estate. Sachiko was resplendent in a floor-length black gown with a high collar that left her shoulders completely bare and had a slit on the side up to just above her knee. In respect to the freezing winter weather she wore a shawl that she had handed off to the butler as soon as they arrived. Yumi's floor-length, long-sleeved gown showed far less skin and didn't even have a slit. Even still she felt much more naked and vulnerable than her girlfriend did. Sachi hadn't even let her put on a pair of pantyhose!
"You'd better make this worth my while onee-sama," she whispered severely to her girlfriend.
"You can always go home if you're not feeling comfortable Yumi," Sachiko smirked and tried hard not to giggle which only earned her an angry look from her lover.
"And leave you to the mercy of these jackals? Not going to happen!" Yumi spat.
"My guardian angel," Sachi smiled at her and then leaned over to place a soft, chaste kiss on her petite soeur's forehead. "Is it truly that uncomfortable?"
"Not really," Yumi admitted with a shy grin. "It's more like…have you ever felt embarrassed and yet, at the same time…excited?" she blushed.
"Not yet, but give me time," Sachiko grinned. She then used just the tips of her index and middle finger to draw a line down Yumi's spine, starting between the younger girl's shoulder blades and ending just under her bottom, getting a bit excited herself when she felt absolutely nothing between her fingers and the smooth, tempting flesh of her lover except for that soft velvet fabric.
Yumi jumped at bit at Sachiko's touch, especially when she felt the taller girl's hand cup the right cheek of her bottom. She sent an admonishing look at Sachi but was rewarded only with another smirk and a none too gentle squeeze of her buttock.
"Yumi-chan, what are you doing here?" Sayako asked with lowered brows and a stern voice as she approached her two girls while wearing her usual formal kimono. "Sachi, why isn't she still in bed?"
"As if I have any control over my stubborn petite soeur, Okaasama," Sachiko pouted dramatically. "She wouldn't listen to a word I said. She's as bad as a man!"
"Oh no dear," Sayako pointed out in her teacher voice, "a man that is sick will lie in bed and moan, wanting you to wait on him hand and foot, frequently forgetting that you have name and simply calling you 'mommy'," she instructed her daughter. "Believe me, I know," she chuckled.
"I should have worn a kimono," Yumi suddenly said while slapping her forehead. "At least then I'd be properly wearing…or not wearing…OH!" she slapped that same hand over her mouth to forestall her wayward tongue but it was much too late as Sayako started laughing at her.
"You didn't?" the older woman asked with a pointed look at her daughter.
Sachiko merely shrugged. "It was Yumi that gave me the idea. If she was bound and determined to attend in her condition then she had to pay a penalty."
"Did she at least let you wear…" Sayako asked the poor girl.
"No!" Yumi spat, pointing her foot so that Sayako could see the bare, painted tootsies sticking out of her strappy heels.
"Oh my!" Sayako giggled behind her hand. "Well you look lovely in that dress, Yumi-chan, even with what you are not wearing," Sayako giggled again.
"Two against one is no fair," Yumi pouted, crossing her arms protectively over her suddenly very naked feeling breasts.
"Make her pay for it," Sayako told Yumi with a grin in a loud stage whisper.
"Oh, I fully intend to," the petite girl replied just as loudly.
"Now who's ganging up on whom?" Sachiko chuckled.
Sayako's final remarks included a pointed look at Yumi's breasts, a sigh, and something along the lines of "at least you can still pull it off."
About a dozen more couples had arrived while they were talking so the three ladies went about warmly greeting their guests and ensuring that they each had drinks in their hands.
It was Sachiko that noticed that one small group of three people was not having a particularly good time at the party. In fact, one of the three seemed to be about ready to have apoplexy, one was ready to tear the first one's head off, and the third was doing her level best to remain pleasant and polite in the face of the first two. Yumi was in the midst of a discussion regarding the Foundation with one of her father's senior managers so she slipped her hand from her love's and walked across the semi-crowded room to try to forestall bloodshed. From what she could see of the situation the only thing holding back Suguru's fury was the two fingers that Alice had pressed lightly against his wrist.
"It's unnatural I say!" the oldest of the three was spouting off. "I knew that Arisugawa-san had an older son and not another daughter. You should be ashamed of yourself! The honor of your estimable family is at stake!"
"Imaoka-san," Suguru said through gritted teeth, "if you don't…"
"May I be of some assistance here?" Sachiko interrupted her cousin before he could say anything that he might regret later. A quick glance at Alice-san showed that of the three she was probably the one most in control of her emotions which, given the situation, was a bit sad. It was as if she'd heard it all before and had even come to expect it. Sachiko was going to change that.
"Sachiko-chan," the man began, making his very first mistake. Well, second really. "This, this person," he stammered angrily with a wave of his hand in Alice's direction, "is not a woman at all, but a man in women's clothing! He's a pervert and a…a faggot! A homosexual! He has no more right to be here than he has being in polite society at all! I demand that he be removed so that your guests are not tainted by his perversions!"
"Sachiko-sama," Alice started with a relieved sigh, most likely getting ready to do whatever she felt was necessary to save her host any embarrassment, but Sachiko would have none of it. She held up her hand to quiet her now startled friend before she began speaking.
"Firstly, Imaoka-san," she said quietly but with a fire in her eyes that spoke volumes to anyone that knew her of just how enraged she was, "you will address me properly as Ogasawara-sama." The man's eyes widened as he realized his initial mistake. He tried to stammer an apology but she showed him the same hand she'd showed Alice and he quickly shut up. "Secondly, you have given grave insult to a very dear friend of mine," she went on, taking hold of Alice's hand and bringing it to her lips to place a small kiss on the back of her hand in apology. Alice smiled appropriately and gave her a small nod of acknowledgement. Sachi also felt a very familiar and desired presence move up beside her. She reached out her other hand without any hesitation and felt the warm fingers of her lover entwine with her own. "That is wholly unacceptable. Thirdly, you show your own ignorance and stupidity by not realizing that the person from which you are asking favors is also one of those horrid, perverted 'homosexuals'," she said, pulling Yumi closer to her so that she could put her arm around her waist. "Have you met my life-partner, Fukuzawa Yumi? No? A pity. You might have learned a thing or two. Lastly," she turned back away from the now sputtering, red faced old man to look at Alice, "Alice-san, among other things, your family is also into plastics are they not?"
"You know that they are, Sachiko-sama," Alice smiled at her and gave her another nod of her head. "Imaoka-san's company is a direct competitor to one run by a cousin of mine, although truthfulness forces me to say that it is not much of a competition. His plant is half the size of ours and we are currently only running at eighty percent capacity, but we still produce revenue and profits three times greater than his. Our products are also of a higher quality," she smiled good-naturedly and without a hint of pride or rancor at the older man's previous diatribe.
"So your family's company could fill orders for an additional thirty thousand units a month without any issues?"
"Of course, Sachiko-sama," Alice grinned. "In fact, I believe I can authoritatively say that with that additional quantity we should be able to achieve sufficient quantity discounts from our suppliers as well as increased savings in manufacturing efficiencies in order to provide Ogasawara Light Industries with an additional five percent discount on all purchases."
"As I suspected," Sachiko nodded thoughtfully before turning back to Imaoka-san who had suddenly gone extremely pale at the mention of the standing order for thirty thousand units per month that he and his company had been comfortably living off of for the past three years. "Imaoka-san, I'm going to say this as plainly as I can so that there can be no misunderstandings. Your company will no longer be a supplier to any Ogasawara organization. I refuse to have my own family's honor tarnished through continued association with you. This is as a direct result of your own stupidity, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. You have no one to blame but yourself. Think carefully on that while you can. Hopefully what little honor you may have left will bring you to the proper conclusion. Good evening Imaoka-san," she said and then started to turn away from the man where she caught the sight of her father out of the corner of her eye as he stood only a few feet away observing.
"Tooru-san, I beg of you!" the old man turned to her father, pleading and nearly crying.
Tooru walked up and put his arms around his daughter and her partner. "I agree with and stand by Sachan and Yumi-chan as well as Alice-san. Good evening Imaoka-san," he said through pressed lips with only the barest of nods of his head to the butler that now stood behind the man. "Try not to hurt him too much as you show him the door, Kenji-kun," he advised the butler.
"Of course sir," Kenji bowed before he grabbed hold of Imaoka's bicep hard enough for the man to wince in pain and leading him from the room.
Before Alice could thank her, Sachiko turned to the girl and gave her a warm smile. "I expect to get that five percent discount Alice," she grinned.
"Of course Sachiko-sama," the girl smiled back and then bowed a bit more formally. "My honor is yours."
"No Alice," Sachiko smiled. "Your honor is your own…and you do it proud."
Alice grinned and bowed again as Sachi drew Yumi away from the small crowd that had gathered around them.
It wasn't often that Yumi got a chance to see Sachiko in all her glory and she couldn't be prouder of the girl she had fallen in love with. She put her arm though Sachiko's and pulled it close against her bosom.
"You were marvelous Sachi," she murmured happily causing the older girl's cheeks to flush pink. "Do you think that you can take me home now?"
"Are you feeling unwell?" Sachiko asked, turning quickly toward her love with concern. Yumi shook her head.
"No, but if you don't get me home soon I'm just going to have to jump your bones right here on the floor of the ballroom! I'm not sure why, but seeing you put that bigot in his place so forcefully really turned me on!" she grinned wickedly. "If I was wearing any panties they'd be wet."
Sachiko smirked and started to guide them from the ballroom and toward her old bedroom in the family wing of the estate. "We can't have your pretty white thighs dirty now can we?" she grinned evilly. "I'll just have to clean you up properly." As soon as she was through the double doors of the ballroom she swept Yumi off her feet and started carrying her down the hall as if she were a bride. Yumi laughed and threw her arms around Sachi's neck.
"Promise?" she giggled.
"Wench," Sachiko laughed.
"Minx," Yumi replied with a low, sexy chuckle and placed a languid kiss on her lover's sensitive neck.
Sachiko quickened her pace.